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Highland Park 21 Year Old

Raising Standards

0 592

@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

12th Jul 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

First vapor: Cherries with cinnamon honey.

Nose: A milk chocolate Toblerone, with woody cinnamon and orange. A little time brings some vanilla peach syrup and floral notes.

Palate: Sharply sweet honey entrance. Accompanied by orange peel or ginger. Kept in the mouth, it becomes thick heather syrup, and then strawberry jam, accented by cinnamon and ginger.

Finish: A bit of ginger heat over a lightly sweet latte; and remnant floral strawberry. Later, cool anise in the cheeks.

Now we're making a statement. Compared with the 12 and 18 (see my other recent reviews), this 21yo not only brings character but delight as well. A changing aroma that is sweet and interesting at each stage; a smooth entrance; a syrupy palate crescendo; and a finish that is happy to sit without biting back. If I were to gripe, I could ask for deeper flavors or perhaps a tad higher strength. For example, the 21yo is still not quite at the level of the 30yo, which adds a different set of aromas and flavors: more vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and richer fruit. But I am not griping, because the 21 is excellent.

Related Highland Park reviews


Rigmorole commented

Yes, for the money it should be higher ABV. It's pretty high, but higher would be better. Over 50 at least. HP doesn't do that because enough people buy the scotch the way it is that it all gets sold. The buyers are not all craft oriented. Some of them are just people that open up the bottle and drink it without even a dash of water. Or, gods forbid, ice. HP makes good money doing what they are doing. That's the trouble. For what HP sells, it is overpriced IMO. Yes, it is delicious, but it is a bit weak and lacking in what could be even better, northern peaty water and all

7 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

This said, I do love my HP 18. Fantastic stuff for the price point

7 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

Interesting perspective; seemingly undone by popularity.

Re: HP18, I am so far jealous of those who seemed to enjoy it so much. As I wrote in my review of the 18, I saw nothing in it. So I'm starting to suspect I had a batch below the bell curve. Based on my current knowledge, the 21 is just a nudge up in price but a big leap in quality.

7 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Batches will vary. Check the color of the whisky. The lighter, the better. Older batches are lighter and tastier. I fear the darker color might be due to carmel additive, but not sure. If you like the 21, then you would also probably appreciate the Glenfarclas 21. Rich, malty, lightly smoky, toffee flavor.

7 years ago 0

DaveM commented

The Highland Park 30 year old is twice the price than the 21 year old. I would hope there would be more complexity to the older whisky.

7 years ago 0

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